With the announcement of England’s Euro 2016 squad due later this week, bettingexpert.com has made the bold assessment that United defender Chris Smalling is the ultimate England player.
Bettingexpert utilised data which compared every England international from the past decade, and has found that the ‘ultimate footballer’ is around 24 years old, born in the south of England, played his first international at 22, is right footed and has had three clubs – with the most prevalent past clubs being Liverpool, Leeds United or Chelsea.
Blonde hopefuls for the trip to the Euros should consider a trip to the hairdressers as the research has also established that 40% of the last 112 England players have had a brown barnet, while 36% have had dark brown eyes and overall, the average height has been 6’0”.
Smalling, who helpfully has had a good season too, hits the criteria in five key aspects – born in London, right-footed, with dark brown eyes and, when he made his England debut in 2011, he was 22 years old. His average age while in the squad (24) also hits the nail on the head, while two former clubs comes close to the ultimate requirement.
Other contenders for the class of 2016 ultimate player include Jordan Henderson (on or close in five criteria), Danny Welbeck (five), Nathaniel Clyne (four), Adam Lallana (four), Tom Heaton (four) and Daniel Sturridge (four). From the last decade, only Shaun Wright-Phillips and Alan Smith (both fulfilling five traits) come close.
Thomas Høgenhaven, Chief Strategy Officer at Better Collective, said: “We’re always looking at ways of helping punters make the most informed bets possible, which means studying the form, spotting the trends and identifying which bets provide real value.
“It’s incredible to find that, when you dig into the top traits of England internationals, the results that emerge don’t necessarily include the players you’d expect. There’s always room for a once-in-a-generation bolter but, by and large, England squads tend to follow the same patterns in terms of age, size, birthplace and looks.”
The data analysis looked at key criteria from 112 England players including average age, height, hair colour, eye colour, the most common birthplaces, favoured foot, the identity and number of past clubs, and age of their international debut.
Whether this helps Smalling get a starting berth under Hodgson in France is yet to be revealed but an in-depth assessment denoting you as the ultimate player can’t hurt.